As a web designer I build on WordPress exclusively and you may ask why WordPress? When I set my company up it was a no brainer decision for me! Having done my research I found that just over a third of the internet is built on WP. If it was good enough for all of those companies (including TechCrunch, The New York Times and even some of Facebook’s sub domains) then it worked for me.
When I say I use WordPress I mean wordPress.org. Confused? Don’t worry that’s normal, so let’s take a look at what I mean.
WordPress.com v WordPress.org
Let’s get one thing clear, I’m not talking about WordPress.com, both the .com and the .org are owned by the same company but they are very different.
WordPress.com is a hosted platform so has the hosting built in. This system is closer to Squarespace or Wix. All of them have a basic plan where you can build a website for free (Squarespace is a free trial so time limited) and then as you add to the site or need more complex features like e-commerce the paid plans kick in.
The only problem here (if you are a business) is that it doesn’t look very professional if your website has WordPress.com in the domain name or like Wix which has Wix ads on each page. Free plans also often limit the amount of space you can have. If you then decide to move to a paid plan with any of these companies things can get expensive fast!
So, let’s get back to the why WordPress?
WordPress is a CMS (content management system). To make this a little more understandable, think of it as being like Windows or iOS, neither of those work without a computer to run the software.
Like Windows or iOS which can’t work without hardware ie a computer or phone to run on. WP needs hosting (the equivalent to the computer) for the WordPress software to run on. Unlike WordPress.com, Wix or Squarespace you don’t have to set up an account with WordPress.org, they simply provide free software that anyone can download and use.
For WordPress you also need a domain name. The domain name is what people will use to find you ie. www.yourwebsite.com. Think of the domain name as being your street address. You can read all about domain names here.
Here are the top 5 reasons why I like WordPress:
1. It’s free!
Yep there’s no cost to downloading and using the WordPress software. Ok you do need to pay for a domain name and hosting, and you might want to invest in a premium theme but WordPress is free and updated regularly.
Hosting can be as little as £3 a month and a domain name usually costs around £10-15 a year. So websites can be run affordably on WordPress. Most hosting companies have a one click install process for WordPress, which means literally with one click you can install the WordPress software on your hosting account in minutes. So setting up the platform is painless, making it my ‘no brainer’.
2. There are thousands of themes
Loads of themes (templates) both free and premium (paid for) have been written to work with WordPress so your design options are extensive, meaning you can build a website that looks pretty much exactly how you want it.
There are also a vast range of plugins (small bits of code) that can extend the functions of your website. Think of plugins like Apps on your phone, each one will add the ability to do something unique.
Plugin developers often provide a free version with a premium upgrade so for little to no added cost you can have an e-commerce site, membership site or a simple brochure site set up and working for you.
3. It is very easy to use.
There’s a ton of information floating around the internet that says WordPress is for coders, but that’s simply not true.
The target audience for WordPress are not web designers or coders, so WordPress has been developed to be usable by anyone whether you understand web development or not. WordPress comes with a dashboard on the back end of your website where you can control everything on your site, update your theme or plugins, check orders (if it’s an e-commerce site), build all your pages, publish blog posts and more.
4. Google loves WordPress.
The chances are if you are reading this article you have come across the term SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Good SEO means your site has a chance to rank in searches in web browsers like Google. By design WordPress has been written to be SEO friendly, so this makes the job of getting your website SEO ready much easier.
5. You can move from one host to another and take your site with you.
If you have built on WordPress.com, Squarespace or Wix you can’t package up your site and move it to another hosting platform, so you are tied in and if you want to move you have to recreate the whole website all over again. WordPress.org works on most hosting platforms, so you can choose to move your hosting, package up your site and move it across pretty seamlessly.
WordPress it not the only option and I would always recommend you do your own research and make a decision based on what you need.
I hope this article has helped with the why WordPress? question. If you need a platform that can grow with you, gives you complete control and has endless options for growth then you won’t go far wrong putting your eggs in the WordPress basket.